Archives for posts with tag: Casey Mullins

(new here? read this first.)

Daniel here. Welcome back.

I attended an art parade a few years ago, taking lots of photos and videos. As I was packing up and heading out, I turned the corner and witnessed this scene. It was hard to resist taking this photograph. It appeals to me in so many ways, most significantly, it’s surrealism.

I’m never without a camera. In the past, it was a conscious decision to carry one. Heading on a big road trip. Flying somewhere new. Heading into the city. Or on a perfect cloud day.

Now I don’t always have to think or plan. I’ve taken some pretty cool shots with my iPhone. I take photos when I go running. On my way to meetings. Out with friends. I’m always prepared.

I’m always fascinated and amazed by witness or amateur photography and video during major events – sports, natural disasters, bloopers, Tosh.O, etc. You never, ever know what’s going to happen in life. I think that’s why I always like carrying a camera.

When I was younger (and even now, sometimes) I used to want to be a photo journalist. Someone that traveled to really diverse locations around the world – wars, natural disasters, extreme climates, you name it. I wanted to explore, experience and engage with local cultures. My camera would bring that world alive.

I don’t exactly live that life, but my camera does bring my world to you. I love photographing in new environments. Clouds. Airports. Cities. Food. Rarely people. Lego. Racing. And the natural landscape. And I love the unexpected. Like this shot.

I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. It was a moment I had to capture. And now I’m bringing it to you.

blow up dolls galore

blow up dolls galore

Long time no see! So, how are you? Me? I had a baby. She’s really cute. And it’s not just me that thinks so. Pretty much everyone is enamored with her to the point that going out in public is a big spectacle.

You know what else is a big spectacle? My six year old coming home from Kindergarten, throwing down her backpack, holding up her middle finger and proclaiming “HUNTER DID THIS TO ME ON THE BUS.

*deep breath*

So I remember flipping my dad off once, okay, so I don’t actually remember the flipping, I just remember staring down at my tiny feet attempting to dodge my dad’s enormous ones as he tried to pummel some sense into me. (To be clear, my dad didn’t smack me around or anything, let’s just say they didn’t have parenting books back then that told you not to freak the freak out when your kid does something super naughty in complete innocence.)

Then there was the time she came home and asked me if girls really had to take off all their clothes to kiss boys. (Thanks again neighbor boy!) Or the time she asked me what ‘sexy’ meant. Or there was last Tuesday where she asked what the “I’M NOT GOING TO SAY IT BUT THE FUH WORD” meant.

Thanks to all those books I have that my dad didn’t, I calmly replied “That is a word that is a thousand times worse than the ‘S’ word (the ‘S’ word being “stupid” score one for innocence!) and if you ever say it to anyone your face will melt off.”

If her eyes weren’t huge when I told her it was a thousand times worse than stupid they were practically water towers by the time I finished telling her the fate of her face if she were to ever utter such a word.

What? The books just said to stay calm and not make a big deal out of it, how am I supposed to remember what comes next?

Today I had to explain cremation, last month I had to explain birth, breastfeeding and umbilical cords in a span of three days. In February I had to explain drag queens and someday I’m going to have to explain a lot more…and until I’m feeling the pressure of her little inquisitive eyes? I at least know to stay calm.

(new here? read this first.)

Casey here, and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about sadness.

There’s the sadness that comes from losing something you love, losing someone you love or watching someone you love lose something or someone they love. There’s the sadness that can come from chronic or temporary physical pain and the sadness that can come from a broken mind playing horrible tricks on your existence. Sadness can happen when you watch your favorite sports team lose or when you watch a friend win something you’ve wanted for so long.

On the surface it’s a crummy thing to be an expert on, who really wants to be familiar with all the facets of sadness? It’s like being an expert on all the dodgy and dangerous streets in a dodgy and dangerous city. However, the wonderful thing that comes from being familiar with sadness, just as the wonderful thing that comes from being familiar with dodgy streets, is that you can find your way back out that much quicker. Even better is that you are able to help others navigate the streets.

There is a visceral reaction in my heart whenever someone says they’re sad.

It doesn’t matter over what.

Sadness isn’t just something that can be told to feel better or turned towards the bright side. It cannot simply be taken away or glossed over. Sadness must be picked up and cradled, much like a mother scoops up a child who just turfed it for the first time on cement. It needs to be held close, until it is ready to leave. It cannot be forced to leave. It cannot be reasoned with. But it can be fed, hugged, supported, written about and talked about until the sadness is ready to become strength. And from that strength grown out of sadness comes empathy. And from empathy comes the ability to get love others around us more deeply, be they strangers or friends.

And when we love each other more deeply the world becomes a much less scary place and sadness holds a far less icy grip around our weary souls.

Balloon Parade

I’m Daniel and that’s me on the far left. No not really, but let’s pretend it is.

I crashed this wedding. But I at least brought all these balloons. I introduced myself as Marty Biesler, owner of Biesler Balloons. I said I was the second cousin of the bride. No one questioned it. Plus I had all these balloons. Purple one’s. The color of royalty.

I navigated through the reception handing them out. I had so many of them, that it looked like I had a float following me. People were in awe and took them as if they were gifts. The reception was a sea of purple. The sun sent it’s ray’s through the balloons giving everyone a royal glow. Magic.

I/Marty watched this magical moment of laughter, dancing, toasting as balloons floated, wandered, be-bopped through the night. The night was unforgettable. Love, memories, champagne, jazz, dancing and Biesler Balloons.

Slowly, balloons drifted up into the sky. One by one they left the reception. Every now and then, guests would catch a balloon crossing the view of the moon. A little balloon with string drifting across the moonlight like E.T., phone home.

Then I/Marty Biesler climbed back in a 1927 Model J Duesenberg and drove home.

The End.

I like to make up names. I have my favorite DJ names picked out. And I have these alter ego names selected. Marty Biesler has been around for almost a decade. In my mind, he doesn’t look like he does in this photo. But he is the type of guy that would bring a thousand balloons to a wedding, uninvited. And then stand off to the side, enjoying the spectacle. He and I are similar.

Kurt Vonnegut has this great quote: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.

I pretend to be a lot of things. I am a lot of things. Sometimes I’m not sure which is which. I’m me, I’m Marty Biesler, I’m DJ Inspecta Collecta, I’m a husband, a father, a friend. Sometimes I’m great and sometimes I’m just not. What a struggle.

But one day, I’ll bring a sea of balloons to a wedding. Marty would want me to.

(new here? read this first.)

Happy 2011. I’m Daniel.

I’ve become obsessed with desserts. In fact, I’ve become quite the expert. It happened shortly after I stopped drinking booze. Apparently I still needed that sugar. So I started looking at sweets in a new way. Cheesecake seemed appealing. Crème Brulee beckoned. Carrot cake called.

I’ve always enjoyed dessert after dinner. But, in the past, I typically opted for an after dinner drink instead. Limoncello would look longingly at me. Grappa gaped. Scotch stared. And as a result, I always went for a liquid option as my reward. A piece of pie would only get in the way of some ouzo. Gulp.

I gulped some good stuff too. I became a huge fan of scotch – Scapa 16 yr single malt being one of my favorites. I embraced rum with enthusiasm, often bringing back Cuban Havana Club when traveling overseas; It’s sweetness and smoothness – definitely a dessert. And I went euro bling from time to time, with a Louis XIII de Rémy Martin. I made the most of each sip. I knew how to order a drink. And I often felt the cruel effects of a hangover.

I’ve not had a hangover since switching over to cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream or chocolate. In fact, I’ve never felt better. Now, instead of sipping on a scotch on the rocks on my couch, you’ll find me on that same couch stuffing my face with a chocolate croissant, filled with strawberries and whipped cream.

Now that’s what I call progress.

Homemade carrot cake

Homemade carrot cake

(Casey here…hi!)

Walnuts tear up my mouth.

I know because there is a pie at a restaurant in Salt Lake that has a filling similar to cookie dough that is simply filled with walnuts.

It is a delicious pie, but the next day my mouth is very sad. I’ll spare you the details, because they’re gross. But I’ll still eat walnuts on occasion, until I remember why it is that I don’t eat them.

Band-aids make me break out in a perfectly shaped band-aid rash. Especially when I’m pregnant. In fact, anything medically stuck to me while I’m pregnant leaves behind these horrible itchy rashes. I once spent a whole day in a hospital while seven months pregnant and it was quite a shock to see the dozens of red welts from where various medical devices had been stuck to me.

Kiwis make my mouth tingle. Avocados make my throat itch. But I don’t really care about those, because kiwis are delicious and avocados are akin to perfection.

My little kid is allergic to carrots. Nothing else, just carrots. If she eats them she barfs. And carrot barf is gross.

I wonder how many people throughout her childhood are going to attempt to feed her carrots only to have her look up with her big blue eyes and say “but I’m allergic to carrots.

“Sure you are kid, sure you are.”

But she really is, so if you try to feed her carrots? You’re keeping her for 24 hours. Because as I mentioned, carrot barf, gross.

I used to tell people I was allergic to cigarettes and that’s why I didn’t want to smoke or be around smoke. Saying I was allergic always went over better than “I think it’s a gross disgusting habit and I hate smelling like an ashtray.” I once saw a girl at an Italian restaurant send back her fettuccine because it had pepper on it and she was apparently allergic to pepper.

Allergic to pepper?

Not going to lie here, I’ve used the allergic to pepper excuse, even though I’m not. I just hate pepper and don’t understand when chefs surprise you with a giant splotch of it on top of your food. Tell me it’s there in the menu and I’ll ask you to leave it off, surprise me with it?

I’m allergic.

(new here? read this first.)

Hi readers. I’m Daniel.

You may not recognize this through the fog, but this picture was taken on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I worked at the IMA until February for just over 5 years. It was a wonderful journey filled with unforgettable projects. That’s easy to say now. At the beginning, I certainly couldn’t see the path. It was kind of hazy.

Most things in life are like that. You start on a journey, not exactly sure of the final outcome. Along the way you make the right choice. You make the wrong choice. You adjust. You keep going. That’s the way it is. I’ve been surprised in life by a wrong or right decision drastically determining a destination. There are decisions I wish I could take back. And there are decisions I could have not made better.

I’m incredibly thankful for my opportunities at the museum. When I joined in 2004, I know that Linda Duke (Director of Education) had taken a risk in hiring me. There were times where I felt I was in over my head, days where I went home never wanting to return and countless moments of self-doubt. Often, I simply went through the motions, trying to do what I thought was right. I’m glad no one ever gave up on me. Then one day, things just kind of clicked and there’s was no going back.

I’m proud of the projects I participated in at the IMA – a trip to Cuba, a video series with the Louvre, an exhibition featuring an eastern mole, a pretty cool blog, The Nugget Factory, lots of websites,  ArtBabble, and hundreds of videos. It was an incredible five years and an experience I could never had predicted. Especially when I first started.

I’m in a newish job now, I’ve got a new baby, I’m trying lots of new projects and I’m trying to make the right decisions in crafting my next journey. Along the way, I’ve learned that the haze disappears. I’ve learned that persistence is key. I’ve learned that you don’t arrive in a short time. I’ve learned to be patient (maybe not). And importantly, I’ve learned to surround myself with brilliant people. I would never get through the haze without them.

Thoughtful morning

Thoughtful morning

Casey’s turn.

I haven’t left my house enough over the last 11 weeks to enjoy much of anything. I have been so consumed with keeping myself and the baby in my belly safe that going outside seems to be too much work. There are too many noises and not enough soft places for me to land outside. It seems as though the last 11 weeks have revolved around soft things. Soft places to sit, soft places to sleep, soft things to wear and soft places to recover from the overwhelming emotions that have nipped away at my spirit like birds pecking away at a peanut butter and seed covered pinecone.

It’s surprising to me how bright the world has become, some of it is a side effect of hormones surging through my body and a lot of it is the amount of time I spend locked away in cool, quiet darkness where the sickness isn’t able to get to me as easily. There are times when I look out my window and wonder if God has turned up the world’s exposure two stops, there are other times I wonder if it’s simply the sun burning away at the ozone and POW KAPOW! the world ends and who thought it was a good idea to bring more children into this world anyway?

I spent the last week in Toronto. The truth is I cried at least a dozen times because I was so scared of being away from everything and everyone I knew. I choked on the tears and forced them down because who cries when they are handed amazing opportunities? Me, apparently. More specifically a pregnant me. I have become so protective of myself when it comes to where and who I choose to spend time with, it’s instinctual. And somewhat crippling.

Every winter since I have lived in the midwest there comes a point where I mourn the loss of sunshine, however this winter the same fear isn’t staring me down with the same anticipated terror. I know darkness. I have been enjoying darkness. And not in a deep twisted way, but in a self preservation way…I am ready to spend the winter curled away growing a tiny human inside of me. This has become my biggest focus. Grow this baby. Love my family.

When the flowers and the leaves come back, so will I. Very symbolic.

(new here? read this first.)

Hi, it’s Casey, and never in my life have I been afraid to perform in front of a crowd.

I started in drama and theater when I was in fifth grade, our group performed for my elementary school. I was cast as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. A singing Captain Hook. I remember an especially rude sixth grade boy coming up to me in the library and saying “you didn’t actually pay money to do that crap did you?” Well the truth was my mom paid and I would have her pay again, because I liked doing it and I didn’t see his rear end up there doing anything theatrical.

My love of drama and performing continued through Jr. High and High School. I played Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird I performed in a very watered down performance of McCavity from “Cats” (which is where I met my first real boyfriend) and in high school I ended up in Arsenic and Old Lace and Much Ado About Nothing. I played a role originally written for a man in both plays. (I was Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare holds my heart, it’s one thing to learn Shakespeare with the knowledge of iambic pentameter, it’s entirely different thing to memorize a the lines of a chronically drunk Shakespearean character.)

A partner and I even made it to the Utah State Drama Competition my Junior year with a scene from Baby with the Bathwater, the only problem was that by then I really was a bit of a drunken Shakespearean character in real life and instead of heading South to where the competition was being held, we drove North…to Idaho. Sure we missed the competition and our chance at fame, but we had some excellent pancakes in Lava Hot Springs.

I miss performing, I have taken to karaoke since it’s really the only chance I have to use all those skills I spent so much time learning in my younger years. I have on my life list to perform on stage again. And it will happen. And you’re all invited.

what would you say?

I am Daniel Incandela.

Talk about a frightening image. This conjures up a lot of anxiety. Public speaking.

Here’s my take on public speaking. I hate it, but I rarely turn down an opportunity. It’s painful, stressful and scary – but I’ve always managed to make it.

Those of you that know me would probably say I’m quiet. That’s mostly true. I like efficient communication. To-the-point. Blunt, even.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say.

I’m also okay with silence. It drives people nuts so I try to be aware of that. I also like awkward, so there are some opposing issues here. I’m far from perfect.

And standing in front of others at a microphone is a challenge.

About a year ago I delivered a keynote presentation on Museums and Technology in Wellington, New Zealand. I was honored to be asked but scared to death. I had done lots of other conference presentations but never as ‘the’ presenter. I couldn’t turn down a trip to Kiwi land, but…

I knew this might be my only opportunity to deliver a keynote so I wanted to go big – either with a major meltdown or a major victory. Honestly, as i walked to the podium i didn’t know which it would be. That was a scary walk.

I’m most happy during major challenges. I enjoy testing myself, growing, learning and achieving.

I researched the sh*t out of this presentation. I researched what other museums were doing. I researched NewZealand. I researched popular culture. I researched presentations. I wanted go big.

I wrote in Indianapolis. I took my son on walks and practiced my presentation. I wrote on the long flight. I wrote on the beach. I practiced in my hotel rooms. I arranged and rearranged.  I wrote and rewrote. I PowerPointed (do I hear gasps?) – but I hate PowerPoint, so they were more like graphic elements. I didn’t fly 7000 miles to read stats, bullets or quotes. They would have to hear me talk.

And talk I did. Probably for 65-70 minutes. It felt like 5. It was a leap of faith.

My presentation in Wellington ranks as one of my proudest moments. On the topic of museums and technology, I managed to work in a personal video introduction from Kiwi IndyCar driver Scott Dixon, several Flight of the Conchords references, a nude body paint video and a lot of quiet sense of humor. Everything just clicked.

As I walked to the podium I told myself this was it – a moment to rise, an opportunity to be proud, an experience to remember. I left to the applause of 300+, a polite grin and memories that will last forever.

Here’s to more microphones in life.

(new here? read this first.)

Hi. It’s Casey.

I took this picture with my point and shoot while lying on the ground at my friend Emily’s house. The way the sun was streaming in making such long shadows on the wood floor out of the Little People strewn about was poetic. All Emily saw was a mess, but really? It was lovely. Imagine what I could have done with my 50mm set to 1.4, or even a sweet f/22 shot.

But I didn’t have my DSLR. I had my point and shoot. So I took the picture to prove a point, that it didn’t matter what kind of camera you have as long as you take the picture. I’ve taught this is more than three classes about this very topic, the whole “The best camera is the one you have with you.”

Well I’m here to call my own BS.

My best camera is my DLSR and frankly I get a little cranky sometimes when my point and shoot won’t do what my DSLR can do.

My brain thinks in aperture, in shutter speed and focal lengths. Not in preset settings where all you have to do is point and well, shoot.

When I picked this photo two weeks ago (oh, about that? Daniel was in Japan, I’m in North Carolina, I got pregnant, Daniel had sushi, football season started…we were very busy.) I had intentions of writing about toys and simple little things that can easily be looked at as beautiful things, like the shadows of strewn about toys.

However, aside from my issues with not having the camera I wanted to take this picture, I can’t stop looking at the crumb. I’m so sorry Emily. I can tell you now Internet that Emily is a very good housekeeper and the stray crumb comes at the expense of having four children in your house for a long time (one of them being mine.)

But the CRUMB. What is it? Cracker? Cake? Yellow Froot Loop?

I DON’T KNOW. But it’s all I can look at.

I could have photoshopped it out, and you never would have even known it was there.

But given that the whole picture makes me grumpy in the first place with it’s whole auto f-stop setting of 3.5 I wasn’t about to bother with photoshop for a crumb.

I guess the good news is at the moment it happened, the moment the sun was setting, I was able to admire the shadows and the light. It wasn’t until after the fact I noticed crumbzilla.

Maybe it’s like a really good wedding, everything is lovely and beautiful and it isn’t until the pictures come back that you notice a sauced Uncle Carl photobombing the bride and groom…

showdown at the ee corral.

I’m Daniel. It’s nice to meet you.

A few things I want to say about this image. I’ve noticed that Casey shoots a lot of things vertically. I’m not sure I would have ever noticed that if we weren’t collaborators. I’m going to ask her about that. Actually, I’m asking her through this blog post. It’s official.

This is a very vertical image. It starts with the cowboy – who’s standing there with a purpose, like a tall drink of water. His shadow adds a lot of length too. The hardwood flooring brings the eye in. It’s a silent scene, but I feel like it had been chaotic moments earlier. His horse ran off. This picture had to be vertical, it had to be long. It’s consumed with empty space in the lower 2/3’s creating a slight uneasiness. It’s not a traditional composition and I love that. This cowboy was up to something.

I’m a big fan of flare in photos. I might have read somewhere once that it’s considered a bad thing. I don’t really care. I like what sunlight does when it peaks over something. And I like to capture that too. In this scene, the sun saw everything.

I also hold shadows in high regard. They’re not quite at the cloud status of coolness, but I do enjoy a nice, long shadow. I feel like cowboy here agrees. The shadow adds a little mystery. And that shadow ain’t saying a word.

The scarf on this cowboy isn’t lost on me either. The cowboy stands confidently in a deserted living room as the sun sets. His nemesis is lying behind him. A tumbleweed passes in front. And his scarf sits contently on his broad, cowboy-like shoulders. This cowboy is the real deal.

So that’s my assessment of the scene. What’s yours?

(new here? read this first.)

Chef Daniel here.

I love food.  I will eat anything. Absolutely anything. Except duck. That’s another post. I’m envious of Anthony Bourdain. What a job – travel and food. Yum.

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t. From time to time, I think about it. The list is something like this – what I’m doing now, photo journalist, think tank-er, rich person with lots of free time, and chef.

I really love food. I love cooking. I love preparing, chopping, sauteing, marinating, grilling, and so on. I enjoy creating food experiences for people. It’s incredibly relaxing and a great creative outlet. I often think about winning the lottery and enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. It sounds idyllic. And then I could hang out with Gordon Ramsay.

Perhaps the greatest food experience I’ve ever had was on a trip to Singapore with my dear friend Despi. Singapore eating represents a complete fusion of global cuisine. Wow. I ate things I had never heard of, seen or tasted. There were moments where I had my doubts. Things looked scary. And some things I wasn’t sure how to eat. But it was all incredibly delicious. Unforgettable. And yes, I drank a Singapore Sling.

Travel provides that authentic food experience. Which is a reason I love traveling so much – experimenting with local cuisine. One of my goals is to keep embracing these food opportunities so that I can bring them home with me. They can shape my food prep techniques. Travel can be my cooking school. I need to get going on that.

If any of you come across any new media, photo journalist, think tank, chef/travel opportunities that would make me extremely wealthy with an abundance of free time, please let me know. I’ll give you a cut of the action. I’ll even cook for you. But not duck.

food

Singapore grub

I’m Casey and my husband Cody once took me to this place in Rochester, New York called Nick Tahou’s Hots, Famous for the Garbage Plate. We had been married less than a year and aside from our honeymoon (which sucked-DO OVER!) this was our first vacation together and we ended up eating something called “garbage plates.”

Cody wonders why when I request a vacation I also request it involve fruity drinks with umbrellas and food that does not originate from a garbage bag.

What bothers me most is that Nick Tahou’s met every standard I have for the *perfect* hole in the wall restaurant, busy at all hours of the day, questionable appearance inside and out, salty employees and a crazy variety of customers preferably containing the elderly, college kids and some cops. The presence of local cops (or firefighters) at a hole in the wall is better better than a Zagat rating for me.

Dude, they even serve garbage plates at the New York State fair.

That’s practically GIFT WRAPPING A RESTAURANT IN A TIFFANY’S BOX FOR ME.

Alas, I hated it. I ate maybe three bites and was done despite the old school lunch benches, the stooped over couple in the booth next to us, the employee that barked at me in a thick NYC accent when I dared use all the syllables in the word “hamburger.” (Hint, at Nick’s it’s “hamburg.”) Even the cops hollering at each other from outside couldn’t win this place over for me.

I’m still pretty ticked about it. Mostly because a brilliant theory I came up with that is always! true, isn’t always true. It’s almost always true. I hate almost always, it’s risky. Babies? Babies are almost always cute, face it, there’s a chance you could end up with a dud, admit it, they’re out there. Politicians are almost always liars. Really screws up the whole benefit of the doubt for the honest ones. Traffic is almost always good on West 70 after 9 am. Except for when it’s not and you get stuck in traffic for several hours.

Don’t tell Cody, but I want to go back. I want to give it a second shot. Maybe my tastebuds are dulled after eight years and just maybe loads of questionable food piled on top of each other, smothered in sauce, topped with hots and hamburgs and served with bread out of a garbage bag is delicious. It has to be.

I am almost always right about these things.

(new here? read this first.)

Old man Incandela here.

I think about retirement a lot. I may never actually get to retire, but I know what it might look like. It’s this image.

I might win the lottery. My career might lead to some amazing opportunity. I might have a very rich Great Uncle out there. Who knows. I’m not asking for too much. I want a farm.

I want to rise with the sun and go chop some wood, feed some chickens, fix a fence, maybe find a duck that has a hurt wing, and in general, walk around some land that I can call my own. I might be listening to hip hop while doing this. Maybe checking e-mail on some bio-chip linked to my brain stem – or whatever the kids will be doing in the future. But I’ll take pride in all of this and appreciate my life, nature and the world around me.

Aside from chickens and a dodgy duck, I’ll have a trusty dog. I might have a lama, a goat, and if I’m brave enough, a horse. I’ll grow lots of stuff. Weird plants, herbs, vegetables and beautiful flowers. I’ll wear Wellington Boots a lot. A cap. And I’ll definitely carry a Leatherman.

I want a rocking chair. I want to eat pie daily. I want to build a fire and read books. I want to be surrounded by loved ones. I’ll entertain visitors. Every now and then, I’ll go traveling and bring back something for the farm house. Not sure what – some trinket, rug, painting from somewhere far away. I’ll always return, happier to be home.

In that rocking chair, I want to look back on life with few regrets, knowing that I created amazing opportunities, treated people with kindness, and truly experienced life.

Wish me luck.

A good retirement spot

A good retirement spot

by Casey, daughter of the best landscape photographer I’ve yet to know.

When I was little my mom would always whisk my sister and me away on camping trips in Southern Utah. We would sleep in the car, eat ramen soup for dinner and drink water out of those old reusable IV bottles. I would always get sick in the car so before we left Salt Lake I would pop a couple of Dramamine and be asleep before Provo. I’m not even sure if I realized that Utah had this whole wild middle section of brown and tumbleweeds until I was grown, I fell asleep up North and woke up surrounded by red rock down South.

I could spend hours exploring the caves and dunes of Southern Utah, one time I found what I swear were human bones, however no one was ever willing to agree with me. I lived for the time between meals when I could just explore. My sister and mom were more content to be back at camp reading or, well, honestly I’m not sure what they did because I was never around to see.

What my mom lived for were those 20 minutes that exist between night and day or day and night. Where the sun is fat and golden and the clouds finger out into fifteen different colors. I remember one morning, I was maybe 6, I awoke to everything washed in the most intense red-golden light. I poked my mom who immediately went to work, pulling out her Canon 35mm and running out the door without so much as a goodbye, leaving her two little girls asleep in the car. My mom speaks in sunsets and sunrises and thrives off sweet light.

When I imagine my mom it’s by some lake or other body of water, bathed in a rainbow of light. She has her viewfinder to her face and her old 4runner and insulated coffee mug in the background. To this day I can’t witness a sunrise or a sunset without thinking of her.

We’re going to be taking a road trip in October to the 5 states she has yet to visit (she wants to hit all 50 before she’s 60) and I am giddy to think that while at home I hate being up before the sun rises, with my mom I’ll be up and witnessing her in her element. I’ll have those memories of my mom to lock away forever both on print and in my mind.

(new here? read this first.)

Hey, this is Casey and you know what kind of stunk?

My wedding.

Well, not so much the ending up married to one handsome hunk of a man, but the whole party wedding extravaganza thing.

Needless to say I’m going to need to renew my vows and I’m going to need a pretty swanky party to go along with it.

About the only cool thing about my actual wedding is that my flowers were flown in from Holland that morning. They were a little late, but I made my peace with them before the ceremony began.

Needless to say I spent a lot of time planning my wedding, however the biggest problem was no one was willing to spend a lot of money on it. (I was engaged after two weeks and married six months later at the tender age of 19. I don’t really blame anyone for not wanting to waste a bunch of money on what was sure to be a failure…but HA HA HA! Nine years later and we’re still going strong.)

So secretly, in the back of my mind, I have been planning this party. This “Casey gets her wedding done right” party. There will be sparkling drinks in pretty colors. Hopefully there with be fireflies and dozens of tiny little lights suspended above a dance floor. There will be a photographer, an amazing one. I will have my hair up and we will get dressed up. All my favorite friends and family will be there.

It will be lovely.

Want to come?

Kaleidoscope at Hallmark

Daniel here.

My initial reaction to this image made me think of the perfect night. Then I started thinking about the music that might be playing, and I thought of “Flashing Lights” by Kanye West. And then I considered the lyrics of this song and realized they’re not that good. So, naturally, I began thinking about rappers I respect for their use of language. That’s where this story begins.

Hip hop or rap has been a big part of my life since the late 1980’s. That’s when I discovered De La Soul and the style and delivery of Kelvin Mercer, aka Plug One (there are 3 in De La), Posdnuos. To this day, he remains my favorite with his references to social issues, humor and clever writing always striking a chord with me. The entire group remains remarkably under-appreciated. I also remembering buying Big Daddy Kane records, listening in amazement to EPMD, and being completely blown away by Eric B. and Rakim. It’s still with me. I even listened to JJ Fad. Ha ha.

It’s no coincidence that later in life I learned to love jazz, studied the Harlem Renaissance and fell in love with the poetry of Langston Hughes. If you love hip hop it’s hard not to look back in history. That happens with a lot of things. Interconnectedness. Relationships. Networks. Call and response. You get the idea.

More recently, I revisited Gang Starr and began yet another obsession in my life. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than “Words I Manifest.” Incredible lyrics, good loops, and scratchin’! One song hit me instantly – “Jazz Thing”, essentially the history of Jazz in rap form. It’s poetic, revealing and pulled together a lot of things for me – the rap tradition, Jazz as a surrealist art form, and the role that African American culture has played in the country. MC Guru knew how say it.

When Guru died earlier this year, it took me by surprise, made me sad, and brought back a lot of memories. I’ve been listening to hip hop for over 20 years. I feel old. I feel lucky I started listening to “Potholes in my Lawn”. He was an artist.

When my son was still in my wife’s belly, he listened to a lot of rap too. I read him Langston Hughes poems. He also listened to a lot of Miles Davis.

I hope he was dreaming about bright lights, the Harlem Renaissance and hip hop poetry.

(new here? read this first.)

Hi I’m Daniel. Nice to meet you.

I love traveling. I’ve already mentioned it in this post, and this one, and this one. And this blog is still a baby!

I am terribly happy traveling. I am most comfortable in foreign lands. I would visit anywhere. I like weird food, people yelling at me in languages I don’t understand, different currency, new cultures, and the exhaustion that comes from exploring. I’m envious of Anthony Bourdain. I love to travel, and I always request a window seat.

I daydream on planes. I think about life. I don’t talk to the person next to me. I sometimes play video games. I rarely sleep. I listen to music. A lot. But 99% of the time, I’m looking out the window. I guess, I read sometimes, but you get the idea.

I look at clouds. I try to understand what they’re interpreting. Most of the time they just look like Smurfs. Papa Smurf. Handy Smurf. Vanity Smurf. Rarely Smurfette. It passes the time and lets me think.

I listen for the ‘ding’ after take off for the 10,000 feet indication. That’s when I can listen to music. I feel a part of the plane as it glides 6 miles in the air. I look down on the landscape and imagine the life down there. The scenery always reminds me of paintings. I always have my camera in my hand or have it nearby in the gross seat back pouch thing. I snap away the entire flight looking for something that strikes my fancy. People give me weird looks. I don’t mind. I also love that everyone is a stranger when you travel.

Occasionally, you encounter such beauty, that it stops all thinking. You gaze out the window, mouth agape, looking at one of the most beautiful scenes you’ve ever seen. In this moment, with this image, I felt like I was at the Louvre. Not on a United Airlines regional jet from Chicago. I love discovering beauty found in exploring. And I love to travel, with a camera.

(‘window seat please’ is a reference to a Flickr group I joined a couple of years ago – check it out, here)

window seat please

window seat please

Hey, it’s Casey, and when we started this? I had no idea I was going to talking about death so much. Seriously. Death death, death and now death again.

My aunt died this week. Well, her body died but her very much alive spirit went to heaven. Because for people like her? The only way to go is up.

She spent 48 years as a quadripeligic. She’s now spent four days in heaven. With a perfectly restored body, that can do everything her earthly body couldn’t manage. She used to tell me about this dream she constantly had about running behind a pickup truck through a wheat field. I wonder if there are wheat fields in heaven?

I like to think about what she’s doing up there. If she’s just flopping her legs around at the edge of a pool because she can or if she’s attempting Olympic cloud jumps. I wonder if it makes any difference to her at all. She never really much minded that she couldn’t walk while she was here on Earth, I mean, she got to where she needed to go and if she needed anything it could easily be brought to her.

But still, I wonder what heaven is like. I mean, I know it can’t just be people swathed in gauzy robes playing harps all day. And I can promise you it’s an even better place now that my Aunt Cheryl is there. I’m pretty sure she’s the funniest person in Heaven. I guess when I think about heaven it must feel like all those tiny little magical moments that occur day to day just smooshed together into one eternal day.

My aunt would say that she got hurt because she wasn’t listening. So God sat her down and made her listen.

And she spent every day doing just that. And when I think about it? A lot of my “this is what heaven must be like” moments? Happened when I was with her.

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